These August days hold their share of ordinary business, but they also remain quieter in character than most other parts of the year. Meetings both in our parishes and at the Pastoral Center are at a minimum. Mail volume is thinner than usual. The phones are quieter. I think that most of us are grateful for that change of pace.
Another blessing of these days is the opportunity they provide me to spend time with the community in relaxed, enriched — and fun — oriented situations.
Early last week, for example, Father Kevin McKenna, pastor of St. Cecilia in Irondequoit, invited me to join two busloads of parishioners and friends for a bus trip to Toronto to see a Yankees-Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre.
Eighty of us met at St. Cecilia’s parking lot at 8 am on Monday and arrived back at 10:30 that night. In between we had a pleasant and easy bus ride, saw an excellent baseball game, enjoyed a meal together and had lots of time to relax together.
It was a pleasure for me just to relax among the people of St. Cecilia and to spend time with Father Kevin at the ball game. Kevin is a very true Blue Jays fan. I am a lifelong Yankees fan. I mention that the Yankees won 5-4 not to rub it in on Kevin but to note the noble way in which he absorbed the disappointing loss!
I thank Kevin and the people of St. Cecilia for their gifts of hospitality and relaxation.
Similarly, I thank Father Adam Orgozaly, pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Rochester and all of the parish community for the hospitality they are showing to the four of us who live at Sacred Heart Cathedral while we do some renovations in the rectory at Sacred Heart.
Our first weekend at St. Stanislaus coincided with its annual parish festival. It was a wonderful moment in which to connect with the parish. People were working hard to make the event the success that it was. But, the effort was not one that left people tense and tight. Rather, it seemed that the common effort exerted for such a good purpose brought people together in a spirit of joy and a sense of deep bonds that exist among them. All of that may have been enhanced by the abundant and delicious food, live music, dancing and the opportunity for leisurely reunion among those who attended.
It is a pleasure to be a guest in the midst of such a warm and welcoming community.
The experiences with St. Cecilia and St. Stanislaus are past and continuing. I want to mention a coming event which will be a blessing to our local church.
This weekend it will be my pleasure to welcome to our diocese on your behalf the Second Annual National Convention of Caribbean Catholics.
This convention will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the U.S. Caribbean Apostolate. Caribbean Catholics of North America is an organization which, through spiritual development, outreach and cultural preservation, seeks to encourage Caribbean people and the wider church in North America in recognizing the necessity for active Caribbean involvement to create the full expression of the Catholic Church in North America.
There will be warm celebrations of culture and heritage. There will be rich liturgical prayers. There will be opportunity to work on relevant contemporary issues such as the impact of Caribbean people on the church in the United States, implications of immigration reform, and the Caribbean male and the church.
I look forward to welcoming our guests, celebrating the Eucharist with them and greeting them in your name. Please pray with me that God will bless all those who will participate in this most significant event.
I hope that your summer goes well and that you, too, have had the joyful opportunity to relax with friends.
Peace to all.